A Travel Price Comparison for Turkey Ankara vs. Istanbul for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Ankara or Istanbul?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Ankara and Istanbul. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Ankara

Located at the heart of Turkey near Central Anatolia, Ankara is the capital city and second largest city in the country after Istanbul. Formerly known for its long-haired goats and textiles, the city has since developed into a metropolitan mix of modern cultures with historic landmarks.

Istanbul

Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this city. Much of the appeal is hidden away along back alleys or within corner shops.

Which city is cheaper, Istanbul or Ankara?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Ankara is $62, while the average daily cost in Istanbul is $95. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Ankara and Istanbul in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $56 for a double occupancy room in Ankara.

A hotel room in Istanbul is about $118 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Ankara $28
    Istanbul $59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Ankara $56
    Istanbul $118

Food

The average traveler spends about $23 per day in Ankara for food, but obviously this is dependent on the type of restaurant and the amount of food ordered. To save money you can grab a lighter lunch or dinner, or you can try fast food or street food.

On average, meal and food prices in Istanbul cost around $24 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $9.60.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Ankara $23
    Istanbul $24
Typical Food prices in Ankara

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Ankara:


  • A Quick Lunch
    $1.36

Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    $0.24
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.07
  • Dessert
    $1.00
  • Pastries
    $0.18

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Istanbul.

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Soft Drinks: $40
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise&Show: $40

Local Transportation

While taxis and private drivers typically cost much more than public transportation, people usually spend around $10 per day to get around in Ankara.

The cost of a taxi ride in Istanbul is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $5.56 per person, per day, on local transportation in Istanbul.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Ankara $10
    Istanbul $5.56
Typical Local Transportation prices in Ankara

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Ankara:


  • Metro Ride
    $0.15
  • Short Taxi Ride
    $0.59

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Ankara

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Ankara:

  • Esenboğa Airport Transfer: $15
  • Private Airport Transfer: Esenboğa International Airport (ESB) to Ankara: $20
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Ankara to Esenboğa International Airport (ESB): $20
  • Arrival Private Transfer Ankara Airport ESB to Ankara City by Standard Sedan: $33
  • Departure Private Transfer Ankara City to Ankara Airport ESB by Standard Sedan: $35
  • Ankara Private Transfer from central Ankara hotels to Ankara Airport (ESB): $38
  • Private Transfer from Ankara Esenboga Airport (ESB) to Central Ankara: $38
  • Arrival Private Transfer from Ankara ESB Airport to Ankara City by Minivan: $47
  • Departure Private Transfer from Ankara City to Ankara Airport ESB by Minivan: $49
  • Ankara Esenboga Airport transfers to Ankara City Center (Cankaya,Kizilay) Hotels: $49
  • Ankara City Center (Cankaya,Kizilay) Hotels to Ankara Esenboga Airport transfers: $49
  • Ankara Airport Private Arrival Transfer: $51

Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Ferry
    $0.33
  • Local Bus
    $0.35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • 2 Ways Istanbul Airport Transfer: $56
  • 2 Ways Istanbul Airport Transfer: $109
  • 2 Ways Sabiha Gokcen Airport Transfer: $56
  • 2-Hour Bosphorus Yacht Cruise with Transfers: $500
  • 2m Transfer: $85
  • 4-Day Istanbul City Package including Full-Day Istanbul City Tour plus Airport Transfers: $350
  • 4-Day Wonderful Istanbul Including Accommodation Plus Transfer: $474
  • Air Transfer Lines | Airport Transfer Service: $44
  • Airport Transfer, Hotel Tranfer, Shuttle Service, Taxi Service: $26
  • Airport private transfer to hotel and back: $109
  • Arrival Private Transfers from New Airport IST to Istanbul in Business Car: $123
  • City Center to Istanbul Airport (IST) Departure Transfers: $87

Is it cheaper to fly into Ankara or Istanbul?

Prices for flights to both Istanbul and Ankara change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Activities, things to do, and other forms of entertainment usually cost around $20 per person, per day in Ankara. This cost includes the price of admission tickets to attractions and museums as well as daily tours.

Entertainment and activities in Istanbul typically cost an average of $35 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Ankara $20
    Istanbul $35
Typical Entertainment prices in Ankara

Here are a few typical costs in Ankara for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Underground City
    $0.94

Tours and Activities in Ankara

Here are a few actual costs in Ankara for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Cer Modern Entrance Ticket: $5.97
  • Cappadocia Hiking & Underground City Tour: $47
  • Istanbul: Half-Day Tour with Topkapi Palace: $140
  • İstanbul: Full-Day Tour with Grand Bazaar: $150
  • Private Tour: Ankara Sightseeing: $198
  • Private Tour of Historical Ankara City: $242
  • Ankara Tour: $252
  • Daily Ankara Tour: $265
  • Daily Hattusas / Boğazköy Tour: $341
  • Ankara, Gordion, Cappadocia 1 day tour - CAP30: $427
  • Private Tour of the Hittite Sites: $455
  • Ankara, Gordion, Hattusas, Cappadocia 2 days private tour - CAP41: $505

Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $2.36
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $2.36
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $1.18
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $3.54

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • Just Hagia Sophia Tour /Skip The Lines: $8.71
  • VR Dervish Experience: $10
  • Museum of Illusions Istanbul Ticket: $11
  • Piri Self-Guided Audio Tour: Istanbul, Historical Peninsula: $11
  • Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour: $12
  • Bosphorus Cruise from Eminonu Pier with Audio App: $12
  • Basilica Cistern VIP Tickets: $12
  • Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque&Hippodrome Guided Tours Everyday /No que / No line!: $12
  • Vip Ticket For Hagi̇a Sophi̇a: $12
  • SEA LIFE Istanbul Entry Ticket: $14
  • Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Admission Ticket: $15
  • Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour: $16

Alcohol

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Ankara may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $10 per day on alcoholic beverages.

The average person spends about $8.51 on alcoholic beverages in Istanbul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Ankara $10
    Istanbul $8.51

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Ankara and Istanbul, we can see that Istanbul is more expensive. And not only is Ankara much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Ankara would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Ankara and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Istanbul would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Istanbul than you might in Ankara.

Budget Your Trip

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Ankara vs. Istanbul Travel Comparison

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